We have the scientific juice to save citrus

January 6, 2016

From: Miami Herald

Lethal, bacterial infection at threat to fruit nationwide.

Long-term solution lies with genetic engineering.


Nevertheless, it will be a decade or more before these disease-resistant trees have received regulatory approvals, been planted widely and are yielding fruit. Until then, there is only one effective treatment: a soil drench of neonicotinoid (“neonic”) pesticide (derived from the naturally occurring nicotine found in plants) at the base of the young citrus tree’s trunk. This enables the chemical to be taken up through the roots, which keeps it from affecting other flying insects or pollinators, as spraying can.

Environmental activists have spent several years and many millions of dollars campaigning to ban neonics claiming that the insecticide is responsible for catastrophic honeybee population declines. However, the May 2015 White House pollinator task force report indicates that U.S. beehive numbers have been trending up for the past seven years. Moreover, large-scale field studies and real-world experience show that bees are not adversely affected by crops treated with neonics. It would be a shame to sacrifice an entire U.S. industry to already-disproven activist claims.

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